Eastern Caribbean Central Bank To Release Digital Currency

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has become the latest monetary authority to announce that it would roll-out a digital currency for use in regions under its control.

According to a press release on March 6, the ECCB has partnered with Barbados-based fintech startup Bitt, to issue “a securely minted and issued digital version of the EC dollar (DXCD).”

The EC dollar is the official currency used in the Eastern Caribbean states namely Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, Anguilla and Montserrat.

As per the ECCB release, the soon-to-be-released DXCD digital currency will become a tool for money transfer between financial and non-financial institutions in the region. It will also allow consumers to pay for goods and services delivered by merchants and also serve as a peer-to-peer currency.

Interestingly, these transfers will be at no cost to citizens and will be completed “in seconds.”

Sharing his thoughts about the new digital currency, ECCB Governor Timothy N. J. Antoine stated the pilot project is not the same as CBDC research and experiments such as that released by the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) to warn central banks against issuing a CBDC.

Antoine explicitly stated in the release,

This is not an academic exercise. Not only will the digital EC Dollar be the world’s first digital legal tender currency to be issued by a central bank on blockchain but this pilot is also a live CBDC deployment with a view to an eventual phased public rollout.

He also outlined that the CBDC will be one of the many strategies and tools that the ECCB has adopted to reduce the use of cash in the Eastern Caribbean States by 50% between 2017-2021.

The ECCB’s new digital currency adds to the increasing number of CBDC’s despite other reports weighing the high and lows of adopting such form of money. Iran is the other nation to launch a CBDC in recent times while the Bank of Thailand is reportedly working on one.

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